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First Person

Home-grown

This fall, Katherine Creswell, 27, spent a month eating only food from Maine. She manages the organic garden at Bowdoin College in Brunswick.

Katherine Creswell ( Photo by Fred Field)
By Nancy Heiser
November 21, 2010

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What inspired you to attempt this completely locavore diet? There are lots of people in Maine researching how self-sufficient can we be, and I tried to answer that in my senior thesis at Bates College. This was a first-hand investigation of that question.

Was absolutely all your food from Maine? I cheated with one item, soy milk, and that’s only because I’m lactose intolerant.

What about common staples like bananas? Peanut butter? Rice? To get the banana texture, I went overboard with applesauce. Nuts and peanut butter I did miss, but I made sunflower seed butter. In any recipe that calls for rice, you can easily substitute barley or wheat berries.

You’re continuing this diet somewhat because you enjoyed it. What will you be eating in December? I’ve put away a lot of food. So I have ample quantities of eggplant, peppers, corn, green beans, tomatoes. I’ll make a big pot of baked beans once a week or so and use the put-by vegetables for stews and sauces.

How long do you think you can keep this up? I’m confident I can keep it up all year. If you wrap your head around not having all the choices, there is tons you can eat: grains, meat, milk, root crops. Seafood is available in the winter. Dried beans last all year.

What non-Maine foods did you miss the most? Nuts. I had no olive oil, no pepper, no baking soda, no cinnamon. All these very common things.

Why should people eat locally? Choosing a local product is supporting our neighbors. Our money is helping those farmers keep their land. It’s going to taste better and have a higher nutritional content. It builds community.

You’re a cross-country runner and triathlete. Did you feel you got the nutrition you needed for your athletics? Definitely. I came up with oatcakes and griddle corncakes as quick snacks and toasted sunflower seeds. I never had trouble with my energy. I felt really good physically.

  • November 21, 2010 cover
  • Nov. 21, 2010 cover